(TRENTON) – On legislation (A-4498) that would revise procedures for expunging records of conviction, which was advanced today by the Assembly Appropriations Committee, sponsors Assembly Democrats Jamel Holley, Angela McKnight and Benjie Wimberly issued the following statements Monday:
Holley (D-Union): “This legislation is critically important as we move toward legalization of adult-use cannabis in New Jersey. Without this bill, many residents would continue to be affected by the criminalization of small amounts marijuana as a result of prior convictions long after the laws change. Broader regulation around expungement will give residents the opportunity to right the wrongs of the past and clean the slate, enabling them to gain employment and seize the opportunities life presents them.”
McKnight (D-Hudson): “Creating a process for residents to clear their name and their record had to be a part of –and is a critical part of—adult-use cannabis regulation in New Jersey. Too many of our residents have been marked for life over a mistake they made once in their youth. For there to be equity and justice in legalization, there must be legislation providing residents affected under the old laws to remove those convictions from their records and begin anew. This legislation is the start of that process.”
Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic): Legalization of adult-use cannabis requires many steps to ensure fairness in implementation of the new regulations for all residents of all socio-economic backgrounds. Convictions and incarceration for the small amounts of marijuana, now to be deemed as “personal use,” has changed the lives and the direction of many youth in our communities. An opportunity to expunge a criminal record of a cannabis-related charge could mean the difference between working and not working for an individual. It will be a process, and it will take a little effort but expungement will be possible for many residents.